MUZAFFARABAD: The newly elected members of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) legislative assembly took oath of their new duties on Tuesday. Speaker of the AJK assembly, Shah Ghulam Qadir, administered the oath to the new members, including six women lawmakers. President Muslim Conference Atiq Ahmed Khan and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) member Javed Iqbal did not take oath on the occasion.
PTI leader Anwar-ul-Haq and Choudhary Riaz took the oath for the speakership and Deputy Speakership. Meanwhile, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) finalised the names for the speaker and deputy speaker slots of the legislative assembly.
A day earlier, PTI clinched all three reserved seats – one each for Ulema and Mushaikh, overseas Kashmiris and technocrats seats to raise its strength in the 53-member house to 32. There were nine candidates from the three parties – PTI, PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) – vying for the reserved seats.
On Aug 1, PPP and PML-N agreed to field joint candidates for the slots of AJK prime minister, speaker and deputy speaker. The two opposition parties have been in touch for parliamentary cooperation in the assembly.
Sources said the two parties would cooperate for reserved seats. The PML-N and PPP will each secure a seat reserved for women. The sources added that the seat of the leader of the opposition would be bagged by the PPP.
PPP AJK President Chaudhry Latif Akbar said it was decided in a meeting with PML-N leader and former prime minister Raja Farooq Haider that the two parties would cooperate with each other
“The PPP and the PML-N will work under a joint strategy,” he added.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party emerged as the single-largest party after clinching 26 direct seats in July 25 elections. PPP came in second with 11 seats while the PML-N bagged six seats.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Monday secured three more reserved seats in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, taking its total seats to 32.
The AJK Legislative Assembly consists of 53 seats, and to pass lawmaking, 27 votes are required — and now the PTI has a clear majority.
PPP has obtained a total of 12 seats, PML-N seven, and Jammu Kashmir Peoples Party and All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference secured one each.
Today, polling was held at Legislative Assembly Hall on three seats reserved for technocrats, overseas Kashmiris, and ulema-o-mashaikh. PTI won all three seats, securing 27 votes for each candidate.
PTI’s Raffique Nayar was elected on the technocrat’s seat, Muhammad Iqbal on the seat reserved for overseas Kashmiris, and Maulana Mazhar Saeed on the ulema-o-mashaikh seat.
AJK President Sardar Masood Khan has summoned the legislation Assembly tomorrow (Tuesday) during which the newly-elected members will be sworn in.
After that, the speaker and deputy speaker will be elected while the leader of the house (prime minister) will be elected the next day (August 4).
After the formation of the government, Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to address AJK Legislative Assembly on August 5, the day when India in 2019 abrogated the special status of occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
A day earlier, PTI had extended its lead in the AJK Legislative Assembly after winning three women’s reserved seats, while PPP and PML-N were able to bag one each.
All five candidates won unopposed. From PTI Imtiaz Naseem, Sabeha Sadique, Kausar Taqdees Gilani emerged victorious, while from PPP Nabila Ayub and from PML-N Nasaran Abbasi were the winning candidates.
A total of 10 candidates had submitted their nomination papers for the reserved seats, however, five of them withdrew their names later.
On July 29, PTI won the LA-16 Bagh 3 seat of the AJKLA, whose results were withheld for re-polling on four polling stations, after clashes brought polling to a halt on July 25.
According to unofficial results, PTI candidate Sardar Mir Akbar bagged 23,561 votes, whereas PPP’s Sardar Qamaruz Zaman obtained 23,267 votes — a difference of a mere 294 votes.
Of the total 939 votes cast by government employees, PTI received 396, whereas PPP got 421. In the polls on July 25, PTI emerged as the largest winner with 25 seats, PPP came in second place with 11, while PML-N won six seats
Imran Khan has not announced the name of nominee for premiership which was expected on Monday. Sultan Mahmood recently held a meeting and tried to persuade him to give this top seat but reportedly remained unsuccessful. Name for the prime minister may be announced tomorrow.